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Editors Column

Now is Not the Time to Rest on Our Laurels

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I hope this message finds you all in great shape, enjoying another fine summer season. I sure know that it has been my good fortune to spend a great deal of fun time up at my daughter’s home enjoying the grandchildren and sharing many fine meals and fun times. It is particularly satisfying watching my grandchildren paddle around in the family swimming pool.

Let me share some good news from the Sunshine State of Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol broke ground on the state’s Advanced Vehicle Operations and Training Complex at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Havana. The complex, which features a 1.4 mile driving track, will allow law enforcement officers to enhance their personal driving skills and experience emergency operations in a safe, controlled environment under the guidance of qualified instructors.

The facility was funded through the support of the Florida Legislature, Governor and Cabinet. It is our hope to be able to reach out and offer our training capabilities to them so that we can reach all of their students with our critical highway safety training. We will be exploring that opportunity.

However, my friends, there is also a need to spend time taking care of business with my friends in the highway safety efforts of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association. We have worked hard for more than two decades growing and expanding our message of training to be safe while operating on the highways. But some recent death-related numbers have given us a warning that the need to keep working hard remains for us all.

In the 2017 National Fire Protection Association “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2017”, it is reported that 10 fire personnel were killed in ‘struck-by’ incidents. A review of data from the law enforcement community reveals that 10 police personnel were also killed in 2017. There has also been an increase in the number of people from the towing industry who are stuck and killed each year. My friends, I know that the gang at CVVFA is working hard to get the word out.

Our training staff is on-site providing educational opportunities in various locations across the country. Our on-line Learning Center is also providing educational opportunities to a wide variety of police, fire, EMS, and towing staff. This on-line effort has proven to be a critical addition to our on-site efforts. We have also been fortunate to be able to train a number of instructors to amplify our training efforts beyond the capability of our existing training staff.

However there is an important area of training which is very difficult to provide. We have the capability to train emergency personnel and towing staff to operate safely on the highways and byways of our nation. We can show them what to do so that they have the best potential opportunity not to be stuck, injured, or killed. But for every member of our world who have been struck there is a person or persons out there who did the striking. These are the people we need to reach.

Sadly, our ability to do this is limited by the number of people we have to do the training and the ability to find a way to reach out and share our knowledge with the driving public who so desperately needs it. But it is important for you to know that we here at the CVVFA recognize this and are working on ways to reach out and address this issue. Any suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated and graciously accepted.

It is critically important to note that no group should ever spend any time resting on its laurels or reading its newspaper clippings. This is time which would be better spent on doing the important highway safety work of our organization.

Let me close with a tip of the editor’s helmet to Bob Cumberland and the dedicated members of his highway safety team who have been visiting highway rest sites and visitor’s centers with our highway safety message. They have spent a great deal of time reaching out to the driving public. We are hoping to grow this effort. Remember that you can help. Just let us know. Take care and stay safe this Summer.

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